The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 2, 2013

Wait training develops muscles of faith

Keeping the Faith




 Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published Nov. 20, 2002. Davis passed away Aug. 1, 2010, of a sudden illness.

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A spouse dies. Something unexpected happens in the workplace. We lose a passion for something we once loved.

Whatever the circumstances, life is often never more difficult than when a Divine finger hits the pause button on the VCR of our lives.

We may know that changes lie somewhere down the road, but, for now, there is no sense of direction for the future and no clear insights about the circumstances of the present.

We seem to be on hold.

We wait.

For me, waiting is like the comma in a sentence. Where that comma falls can change the whole meaning of the thought expressed.

Those commas in our lives hold lots of potential.

What we do in the times of waiting has a direct bearing on what happens next.

I don’t know about you, but I hate waiting. Give me a goal, a direction, and I’m off running at full tilt — sometimes in all directions at once, but running, nonetheless.

I’ve heard many a sermon on the value of waiting for something and how a pause in our lives can be a tool God uses to develop patience and perseverance.

Both are virtues we all desire, but most of us hate going through the crucibles that develop them in our lives.

Wait training — as I’ve come to think about this process — is much like weight training.

To achieve long-term weight-management goals, we have to rely on what we know about nutrition, fat-burning and exercise. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows results do not come overnight. They come with a day-by-day practice of all we know, and we expend our efforts knowing we will have to accept small changes. Leaner muscles, more energy and smaller clothing sizes eventually come, but they don’t always seem proportionate to all the times we’ve been hungry, had sore, aching muscles and have put aside certain pleasures in the hope of reaching a certain goal.

Wait training accomplishes the same thing on a spiritual level.

Waiting teaches me a lot about what I believe about God, the Bible and the Christian principles I’ve been taught. Do I really believe God has a divine plan for me? Can I really trust all those Scriptures that talk about His consistent leadership in my life? Do I believe those principles enough to rely on them when I don’t see concrete things happening?

Wait training is not a passive exercise. It requires constant effort and lots of time spent in the spiritual gymnasium.

Doing what?

Well, wait training gives me a good opportunity to take a good look at where I am now and where I’ve been in recent months. Have I been using my time, talents and resources to the best they can be employed?

Have I let certain gifts and abilities atrophy? Have I developed tunnel vision?

It gives me time to reflect on life lessons I’ve learned — or not — and shows me where I need to put more effort.

As I wait and ponder and evaluate and refocus, I find myself developing my faith muscles. I see that I’m trusting God in a deeper, more intimate way, and I begin to see how He’s testing the mettle of my commitment.

And I know that before long, I will see some worthwhile results.

It’s just a matter of time, and they will be well worth the weight.